Biography of Bob Bowman, Founder of FEBC: A Legacy of Faithfulness
By Far East Broadcasting Company On March 19, 2014
Bob Bowman and his children.
Throughout history, God has been on a mission to reach the nations. He does this through people who are willing to submit their lives to Him in faith. Robert Bowman was one of those people.
Born March 16, 1915, Dr Bob Bowman co-founded Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC). When Bob was eighteen years old, winning the Indianapolis 500 was his idea of life's greatest achievement. Little interested him other than showing off the performance of his beat-up 1929 Ford. Certainly he seemed to be an unlikely candidate to fulfill a plan written by the God of the universe.
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Eventually, the time came when glossy cars, speed, and sports no longer fulfilled Bob Bowman. He astonished his family with his decision to go to Bible school and ended up in the Southern California Bible School in Pasadena (currently known as Vanguard University). It was there that Bob found spiritual maturity. A remark from a teacher remained with him all his life: "Bob, what you are to Jesus Christ is far more important than anything you will ever do for Him." He was ready to submit his life to whatever Christ had for him.
In the chapel of the Southern California Bible School, a world map decorated one wall. Bob repeatedly pictured this map as he meditated over vast areas of land untouched by the Gospel. Most of these areas were unreached by missionaries and Bob thought: If radio can bring nonbelievers to Christ in America, why not use it to reach people in far away places?
In 1945, FEBC was founded, later becoming a large network of radio stations broadcasting the message of Christ's redemption to people throughout the world.
Bob Bowman said, "From the beginning, we were driven by two things: a passion to obey God and compassion for those who didn't know Christ. We knew that this was the essence of the Great Commission and we also knew there was no turning back once we put our hearts together. We had a few ideas about how we might do it, but God had other ideas. He first showed us that we couldn't do it and that He would do it Himself through us."
Bob Bowman never claimed to have extravagant talent, an incredibly brilliant mind, or a spirit of self-achievement. He had a surrendered human heart; that was all God needed to shape him into a man of obedience. The passion Bob had for reaching the lost was supplied by the Lord for His glory.
Bob Bowman was also extremely careful to keep preaching the Gospel as FEBC's main focus. He advised, "We have to be careful that we always maintain the vision that God gave and use these other things on the side as things that can be used along the way...and boy this internet is something else! It is great to use those along the way but don't let that take your eyes off of the mark. The mark, most of all, is taking Christ to the Orient by radio."
The legacy established by Bob Bowman at FEBC is absolutely amazing. Millions of people each year contact the organization in response to the Gospel message broadcasted. Yet, Bob never took credit. He claimed, "Somehow, when we look at what God has done, you are blown over...I don't know why God chose me to be one of the ones that help to found it."
Bob Bowman's life is the story of changed hearts through Christ for God's glory. The best part is that it is an ongoing story. Because of one man's faithfulness, FEBC can continue the message on until the Lord returns. As Bob Bowman constantly repeated the words of William Carey, "Attempt great things for God, expect great things from God."